Before moving out of the big house I was busy: being a chaperone for a teenagers field trips to Austin, Waco, and Houston, a professional development meeting with Larry Schuekler, and co-hosting a Closing Reception with my fellow Artist in Residence. All of which was a total blast.
In my field trips to Austin, my group visited the Bob Bullock Museum, The Blanton Museum and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. There were 10 teens and 2 other chaperones not including me. I had already visited all three museums over the years but it was fascinating to see everything new in the eyes of the children. Our first visit was the Bob Bullock Museum. There, we saw the La Belle exhibition. La Belle was a ship from a French expedition that got caught in a storm and sank in Matagorda, TX Bay in 1686. 300 years later, it was excavated and put on display the Austin museum.
To go along with the La Belle exhibition, we experienced a visual discrimination of the French expedition with the film, “Shipwrecked” through the eyes of a young french boy named Pierre Talon. He rode in one of the three ships accompanying La Belle with his family to the new land of America. The best part of the film was when the french explorer, named La Salle, went down the river with his men and saw an alligator for the first time. They describe the new animal as a 15 ft long lizard. When the alligator snapped its mouth everyone, the seats jumped on their own making the audience scared. All the teenagers jumped and screamed, then laughed at their reactions. If you’re in Austin, stop by the Bob Bullock Museum and watch the film. It’s a futuristic way to experience history with its three screens and live special effects.
The movie and La Belle intrigued me because Matagorda Bay holds a dear place in my heart. It’s where my family spends every summer vacation since my grandfather was little. It’s where my dad and grandfather would go fishing and where they taught me how to fish. Recently, I got engaged at the same beach a few months ago. Seeing and gaining knowledge of its history means a lot to me.
Our next stop was the Blanton Museum of Art across the street, which was not as action packed as the Bullock. The museum had closed its upstairs permanent collection for renovation, so we didn’t spend a lot of time there. The two exhibitions on the first floor were the Goya: Mad Reason and Xu Bingo: Book from the sky. Both artists had very different types of use in prints. Goya’s work told the story of changing political and intellectual landscape of his native land of Spain with bull fighting and scary dreams imagery with the process of copper itching. During the visit I explained to the group what steps the Goya took to make his to prints. I explained what itching is. The reason behind the small pencil number on the corner of the print. It’s the edition number, meaning it took the artist so many pulls of his copper plate to be satisfied with that the image you see. While Xu Bingo, a chinese artist transformed the space with printed text on scrolls that covered the walls and floor.
With time to spare we stopped and explored the Umlauf Sculpture garden for some fresh hot Texas air. Umlauf was a professor at the University of Texas whose artwork is now on display free to viewers on land that he used to call home. His work is mostly figurative with the occasional animales mixed in.
After such a long day, filled with history and art, we stopped and got drinks from Sonic. On the drive back, everyone fell asleep until we arrived back in Bryan.
The Houston field trip was a few days later. We went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Battleship Texas State Historic Site. It was my favorite trip out of the three because MFAH had so many paintings of my hero artists: De Kooning, Franz Kline, Hofmann, Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh. All in one house. There the group got to see the Kusama: At the end of the Universe. A two room exhibition were each room had a very different but both equally infinite feel of space. The first room “Love is Calling” had glowing multi color slatic forms with black dots on the ceiling and floors and mirrors on all the walls. The second room “Aftermath of obliteration of eternity” was more intimate for the lack of color and twinkling lights in a mirrored room. When your first walk into the room, it’s like you are walking into galaxy full of captured stars.
After lunch we went to see the Battleship Texas State Historical Site. Oh my it was hot out! I don’t know how the sailors handled being on a metal ship in the middle of July. It was also very tight. They must have been smaller built back then too.
The Waco field trip was small but just as fun with only two students and three chaperones. We visited the Mayborn Museum and the Dr. Pepper Museum. In Mayborn, our small group experienced the multi-activity Imaginate exhibit. The viewer is encouraged to ask questions and willing to take risks. The two boys went crazy exploring the hands-on exhibition. They especially enjoyed making paper airplanes and tossing them at bullseyes that have points on them to see who can score the most points. My favorite station was the Making Faces one. You take a selfie then collage other people’s eyes, nose, mouth and other facial features. The outcome was kind of funny to watch. We also saw the Natural and Cultural History Exhibits. We were amazed to see a massive ancient sea turtle (Protostega gigas) that was found in someone’s back yard nearby. It’s hard to believe that some little kids digging in the dirt were able to discover this.
After lunch we stopped by the Dr. Pepper Museum. The last time I was there I was around 6 years old and remember getting free ice cream after my little brother fell and started crying. There still is ice cream. Lots of ice cream. They also have a timeline of all the bottles with the different advertisements. We also watched a few old Dr. Pepper commercials. Dr. Pepper must keep great archives because some of the commercials were really old. After getting some Dr. Pepper ice cream floats we made our way back to Bryan.
I very much enjoyed being a chaperone for the teens field trips. I got to see and experience some amazing art and meet some new people. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.
The day after our last First Friday in Bryan we got up early and visited a local artist who specializes in figure sculptor name Larry Schuekler. I previously had the pleasure of modeling for him at the Frame Gallery during their figure drawing nights a while back. We were accompanied by College Station’s Artist in Residence Emily May. We were all impressed of Larry’s multiple studios, pool, and buildings on his gorgeous property all of which he built himself. It was so nice having a group discussion on what the next steps is in our careers. The advice he gave encouraged all to go for our goals.
In our last weekend at the house Eric, Abby, and I hosted a Closing Reception. We used the funds from our painting party to cover the cost of food and drinks, for our guest. Although emotional to say goodbye to the community, I felt proud to accomplished everything that I did.
I am grateful to the community of Navasota for opening their doors to myself and colleagues. As young and creative individuals, you have no idea how big of a stepping stone this programs is for our careers. I would also like to thank everyone in the art community of Bryan, Texas, we enjoyed visiting y’all every First Friday during our stay in Navasota. Big shout out to the Riddle Gallery and The Frame Gallery for inviting us to display our work for the months of May and June. Last but not least thank you to The Arts Council of Brazos Valley for believing in us and giving us this unique opportunity to explore ourselves as artists and as individuals.